Focus should be Syrian Kurdistan
The political crisis in Syria and the future of Syrian Kurdistan is the most strategic issue for the entire Kurdish national movement and the key to the formation of an independent Kurdish political entity in the Middle East. Political developments in Syrian Kurdistan are more crucial than Maliki’s threats to the Kurdistan Region; more critical than the formation of Dijle Operations Command that aims to occupy Kirkuk and other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan; and are more vital and serious than the secretive bargaining between PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan and Turkish National Intelligence security under the so called banner of ‘peace’. All these developments have connection with Syria and the Syrian Kurds.
Serious as well as dizzying recent political developments in three parts of Kurdistan (Turkey, Iraq and Syria) should not be allowed to distract Kurdish national movement’s attention over Syrian Kurdistan. It is imperative for the Kurdistan Regional government (KRG) and the political establishment in southern Kurdistan under the leadership of Massoud Barzani to exert their utmost concentration, attention and support to Syrian Kurdistan to secure at least a federal political structure for Syrian Kurds in the post-Assad period, if not outright independence.
While the foundation blocks of the Middle East have been shattered and with the imperial legacy of the Middle Eastern map prone for alteration, the Kurds must find their own place in the newly reconstructed Middle East with their own making. It is high time for the Kurds to be subject of their own history not the object of the others. Political actions and strategies that some of the leading Kurdish political forces pursue indicates that Kurdish politics fail to respond to the condition and challenges of today.
The leading culprit for the lack of a cohesive and strategic Kurdish policy is PKK and its affiliates in Syria and Iran. As a military/political organization, the PKK since its inception have been manipulated and used as a ‘Trojan Horse’ within the Kurdish national movement. To put the whole blame over PKK is not of course to excuse the Kurdish liberation movement for its disorientation and shallow character. Both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), as the two strongest Kurdish political forces, have historical responsibilities for not being able to produce alternative strategies to prevent the distractive role that the PKK has played within the Kurdish movement. By failing to rise above their narrow politics which is limited to the Iraqi Kurdistan borders, both the KDP and PUK paved the foundation stone of today’s chaotic and confused state of affairs in Kurdistan and let the Kurdish politics become manipulated by instrumental and artificial organizations at such a critical juncture.
Despite the fact that the Cold War ended with the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 the Kurdish political mind-set of today still carries the traces of Cold War mentality, a belief that the status quo and the political map of the Middle East as unchangeable from its partition between Western and Eastern blocks. Kurdish politics must escape from its own self-created prison of ‘statelessness’ and boldly claim for a Kurdish state, an independent Kurdistan. Without such a mental break the Kurdish question whether in Iraq, or Turkey, or Syria or Iran cannot and will not be resolved.
The famous Turkish intellectual Ismail Besikci once said that there is something ‘wrong’ in Kurds when they do not claim for a national state of their own. He said less. It is a mental disorder like a virus imbued in Kurdish mentality.
The key to remedying this mental disorder is Syrian Kurdistan and the most promising actor to cure this mental disorder is the political establishment in the Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdistan Region, particularly Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani, not merely to due his title but most crucially due to his historical background must take urgent action to tide the Kurdish house beginning with Syrian Kurdistan. From Paris assassination to ‘peace’ negotiations; from Maliki’s Dijle forces to provocative actions of Syrian opposition in Syrian Kurdistan, these are all aimed to preserve the status quo in the region and to prevent formation of a Kurdish political entity.
The Kurds should realize that without national sovereignty, in effect national independence, all other options are not the best interests of the nation. Whatever the gains Kurds achieved in Iraqi Kurdistan and whatever the outcome of the so called ‘peace’ negotiations between PKK and Turkey or whatever political system is established in post-Assad Syria are all, without national self-determination and national sovereignty, temporary and may evaporate with the formation of a new Middle East.
It is time for the Kurds to demonstrate that they are not a nation in itself but a nation for itself. It is still not too late.
Kurdish anti-Syrian government activists parade the streets in celebration for the official declaration of liberation of the city of Derik, near al-Malikiyah, on November 15, 2012.